NYCFC Flex Local Muscle With Victory Over the New York Red Bulls (Highlights)
Jun 24, 2017; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York City FC defender Ben Sweat (2) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the New York Red Bulls during the second half at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

With a convincing victory and a 10 point lead over the Red Bulls, NYCFC are finally starting to claim a bit of local pride. 

A narrow defeat to the Red Bulls in the U.S Open Cup just over a week ago continued the Harrison side’s excellent streak over their Hudson River rivals. Though NYCFC sat above the Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference standings, a sense of satisfaction on a local scale was absent from the minds of supporters. Despite the importance of a league position, derby victories often induce the strongest feelings of joy during a season.

NYC earned a convincing victory at the Red Bull Arena last weekend and with it a ten point lead over their rivals, and the knowledge that the Red Bulls no longer run the New York area with the same authority as they have since NYC entered Major League Soccer.

Though the Red Bulls’ superiority over the past two seasons was clear, even if the gap between the two sides at the end of last season was only three points, so too is NYC FC’s progression and a threat to the dominance of the Red Bulls this season. It may be only two and a half seasons of MLS play, but a similar place to the Mets and Islanders doesn’t appear to be a welcome thought among the NYC FC camp.

A 10 point lead at this stage of the season is a strong lead and is an accurate indication of both side’s performances this season. While the Red Bulls have slipped to some poor results, such as a 4-1 defeat at Houston and a 3-0 defeat to Union as Philadelphia earned their first win of the season, NYC have had several matches to remember.

A 3-0 win at Orlando, who had yet to lose at home and had only dropped points once in Florida, in particular, stands out as evidence that Patrick Vieira’s side will be difficult to contend with this season. To date, they remain the only MLS team to defeat Orlando away from home.

In their head to head match, NYC justified their ten point lead. Excellent in attack as they created multiple opportunities, and solid at the back, their victory was deserved.  

The top spot in the Eastern Conference, is in reach at the moment, despite Toronto’s five-point lead. The regularity of their performances over the past few weeks could place massive pressure on the conference leaders, who visit shortly. A victory for the Yankee Stadium-based club could really make it interesting at the top.

Minnesota are the next side to face the Boys in Blue, and while the poor league position of the expansion side may have injected a bit of fear in supporters a few weeks ago, recent victories over struggles Seattle Sounders and the Union, both of whom lie outside the playoff places, suggest that NYC’s surrender of points to teams at the bottom ends of the table are no longer a regular event.

The Red Bulls, meanwhile, are currently outside the playoff positions though they do have a game in hand Orlando and Columbus and a victory would confirm their re-entry into the top six. Still, they don’t appear to be challenging at the top anytime soon.

The two sides are going in opposite directions at the moment. Though much of the season remains, NYC FC fans can finally relish a sense of local superiority for the first time in the club’s history.

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